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PTS Patch Notes: Testing Ideas for Light & Heavy Attacks in Combat

Community Manager
While our main focus and priority continues to be improving performance and addressing current issues on the Live megaservers, we also have been carving out some time to consider ways we can continue improving the game as it evolves and matures to ensure a healthy community and environment. Today, we’d like to share one of the topics we’ve been discussing internally including what problems we’d like to solve, proposed solutions, and give you a chance to try out some ideas and give your feedback.

Combat in ESO is one of the things that truly separates our game from others like it. It’s action oriented, fast-paced, and gives you a lot of freedom over its various mechanics/interactions. It is balanced not with ability cooldowns, but via ability costs and resource pools - you can’t keep casting abilities or block/roll dodge without the proper resources to fuel those actions. We’ve found that players love this freedom and there is always a “button to press” or action to take at any point in combat.

There are, however, several drawbacks to this model as well. First, it tends to reward players for pushing buttons as quickly and efficiently as possible. Players with high Actions Per Minute (APM) significantly outperform those with low APM, as they have better up-time of abilities, higher mitigation, much higher DPS, and can simply move around the battlefield better in both PVE and PVP. While we believe it’s good to have a skill gap that promotes mastery, we also believe the gap as it currently exists is too wide, and that many players aren’t finding satisfaction in the climb. Additionally, we believe the over-reliance on a specific mechanic (light attack weaving) leaves less room for playstyle diversity, including lower-APM options. This is particularly evident in veteran content and PvP. Finally, the concept of using light attacks for damage and heavy attacks for restore is, quite simply, unintuitive – especially for less experienced players.

We’ve been discussing ways to address these issues, and we’d like to get your feedback on some changes to both Light and Heavy attacks on the PTS during a special off-cycle testing period. These changes are focused on Light and Heavy attack damage and resource restoring capabilities. A summary of the changes are as follows:
  • Light attacks now restore resources, and resource restore is removed from Heavy attacks.
    • Successive Light attacks grant a stacking resource buff, up to 3 consecutive attacks maxing out the benefit (without weaving abilities).
  • Light attack damage is reduced, and Heavy attack damage is increased.
    • Non-fully charged Heavy Attacks (also known as Medium Attacks) now have a scaling amount of damage based on how long you hold the attack (up to a full Heavy, then it counts as a Heavy attack).
  • All types of attacks now interact with Off-Balance.
    • Light attacking an Off-Balance target results in even more resource return.
    • Medium attacking an Off-Balance target results in more damage.
    • Heavy attacking an Off-Balance target results in more damage and the stun you are used to.
We believe these changes will broaden the usage of Light, Medium and Heavy attacks for all players. In this new dynamic, Heavy attack builds will be more viable, giving low APM players opportunities to compete in both PVE and PVP. High APM play is still rewarded as the absolute highest DPS and requires a mix of both Light and Heavy attacks, interacting with Off-Balance as optimally as possible.

We realize these are big changes, and we’re excited to have this off-cycle test where you can provide some very focused feedback. We’d like to emphasize the possibility of these changes never actually going into the game – we are simply testing and gathering feedback right now. The current PTS build you’ll be playing on is U25 code, with the addition of the Light/Heavy attack changes. This will give everyone a clear before-and-after environment between Live and PTS to allow for better comparisons. We hope you’ll jump in to test the changes and provide feedback! We will be prioritizing feedback received in-game through /feedback, but we also have a forum thread setup here with some targeted questions.

Thank you!


Light and Heavy Attacks have received multiple adjustments to help reduce the importance of executing them perfectly, as well as help each attack tailor themselves to the gameplay they incur. For example, Light Attacks will focus less on damage but will restore resources to help fulfill their fast nature, meant to assist in builds that want to chain a constant barrage of attacks. Heavy Attacks will focus on pure damage that are made for slower builds dedicated to the act of pushing out larger numbers.

  • All Light, Medium, and Heavy Attacks now scale with your highest offensive stats.
  • All weapon-based Light Attacks will restore 200 Stamina or Magicka per hit, depending on their type.
    • Martial weapons (Bows, Dual Wield, Two Hand, Unarmed, One Hand and Shield) return Stamina, while magical weapons (Staves) return Magicka.
    • Werewolf Light Attacks restore 250 Stamina at base.
    • Using Light Attacks in quick succession increases the resources restored by its base value, up to a maximum of 3 times. This means normal weapons' Light Attacks restore up to 1000, while Werewolf restores up to 1250.
  • Heavy Attacks no longer restore any resources.
  • Decreased the damage of Light Attacks by approximately 78%, and streamlined their cooldowns to have less variance between weapon types.
  • Partially Charged Heavy Attacks (also called Medium Attacks) now start scaling at the same damage as Light Attacks, and scale up to a maximum of their respective cap, to ensure they always deal more damage than a Light Attack but never more than a fully-charged Heavy Attack.
  • Heavy Attacks now do varying damage based upon their cast time, and are built to always deal approximately 10% more DPS when weaving them with abilities when compared to Light Attack weaving. Below are the adjustments to damage and cast times:
    • Dual Wield Heavy Attacks now deal approximately 31% more damage.
    • Bow Heavy Attacks now deal approximately 12% more damage, and reduced their cast times by 550ms. Bow Heavy Attacks no longer reduce your movement speed while charging.
    • One Hand and Shield Heavy Attacks now deal approximately 24% more damage, and reduced their cast times by 150ms.
    • Two Handed Heavy Attacks now deal approximately 62% more damage.
    • Reworked Restoration Heavy Attacks to have 2 ticks of a channel and a final hit of damage to denote the fully-charged state.
      • The first 2 ticks of damage are untouched, but the final tick of damage does 238% more damage than before.
      • Removed the 200ms delay on the attack.
      • Your movement speed is no longer reduced while channeling.
      • The final hit of damage can now be dodged.
    • Unarmed Heavy Attacks now deal approximately 24% more damage.
    • Werewolf Heavy Attacks now deal approximately 62% more damage.
    • Volendrung's Heavy Attacks now deal 22.7% more damage. Medium Attacks now properly scale between 1050 and 12270 based on the charge time, rather than dealing a flat 5000 damage.
    • Inferno and Frost Staves Heavy Attacks now deal approximately 12% more damage, and reduced their cast times by 300ms. They also no longer reduce movement speed while casting.
    • Lightning Staff Heavy Attacks now deal approximately 34% more damage on the channeled portion, and the final hit now deals approximately 190% more damage.
      • Removed the 200ms delay of the attack.
      • Your movement speed is no longer reduced while channeling.
      • The final hit can now be dodged.
      • The bonus damage versus Off Balance enemies now deals 33% more damage for any Heavy Attack, Partial or Fully-Charged, down from 70% for only fully-charged Heavy Attack.
  • Partially-charged Heavy Attacks no longer stun Off Balanced enemies, but fully-charged Heavy Attacks continue to do so.
  • Light Attacking Off Balanced enemies adds 5 stacks to your restore, bypassing the natural 4 cap. This means Light Attacking an Off Balanced enemy restores 1200 resources immediately, and goes up to 2000 if you Light Attack in quick succession.
  • Mend Wounds has been intentionally untouched for the time being, as well as Overload.
  • Many item sets, passives, and skills have received adjustments in order to keep their power levels the same after the changes to Light and Heavy Attacks. Most of these will be number adjustments, but some have received larger redesigns to fit the shift in Light and Heavy Attacks.

Buffs and Debuffs
  • Empower: This buff type now increases the damage of your next fully-charged Heavy Attack by 2500, rather than increasing Light Attack damage by 40%.

Item Sets
  • Aegis of Galenwae and Perfected Aegis of Galenwae:
    • These sets now grant Empower to 12 allies, rather than only 3.
    • This set no longer has a 50% chance to proc, but the cooldown has been increased to 2 seconds, up from 1.
    • Fixed an issue where the radius of granting this bonus was not as large as the tooltip indicated.
  • Blood Moon:
    • This set now increases damage of your Light Attacks by 5738, rather than 55%.
    • Increased the duration to 10 seconds, up from 5.
    • Increased the cooldown to 20 seconds, up from 15.
    • While active, this set reduces the amount of resources restored from your Light Attacks by 50%.
  • Kvatch Gladiator: This set now increases your Weapon Damage against targets under 25% health by 1475, rather than increasing your Weapon Damage with Light and Heavy Attacks against targets under 25% health by 1800.
  • Molag Kena: This set now grants Conductor, which reduces the cost of your abilities by 20% while active, but also reduces your Weapon and Spell Damage by 511 rather than granting Overkill, which increased the cost of your abilities by 8% and increased your Weapon and Spell Damage by 516. The proc condition still remains using two Light Attacks in a row, which are now used to generate resources, so the identity of the set has flipped to accommodate that play style.
    Developer Comment: The reason for the large swing in this situation from +516 and +8% cost to -511 but -20% cost is because these ratios are not 1:1. Cost increase is additive with your overall cost, while cost decrease is multiplicative. This means decreasing your costs is far less effective than increasing them, resulting in a larger weight required when giving one or the other.
  • Queen's Elegance: This set now causes your Light Attacks to reduce the Health, Magicka, or Stamina cost of your next ability used by 10% and your fully-charged Heavy Attacks to increase the damage of your next Direct Damage attack by 2610, rather than increasing the damage of your Light and Heavy Attacks by 20%.
  • The Arch-Mage: This set now increases your Magicka Recovery by up to 369 for 10 seconds after dealing damage with a fully-charged Heavy Attack, rather than granting 834 Magicka whenever you fully-charged Heavy Attack.
  • Ulfnor's Favor: This set now increases the Magicka or Stamina you generate while Light Attacking by 120, rather than increasing the Magicka or Stamina you generate from fully charged Heavy Attacks by 30%.

Class Specific

  • Molten Armaments: This ability now increases the damage of your fully charged Heavy Attacks by up to 3000, rather than increasing the damage of all Heavy Attacks by 50%.
  • Bound Armaments: This ability no longer increases the damage of your Light Attacks by 10% while slotted, since the ability already provides a strong bonus and active.

  • Two Handed
    • Forceful: This passive now causes your Light and Heavy Attacks to splash for 12/25% of their damage caused, down from 25/50%.
  • Destruction Staff
    • Tri Focus: This passive now causes your Lightning Heavy Attacks to splash for 12/25% of the damage caused, down from 50/100%.
  • Restoration Staff
    • Cycle of Life: This passive causes your Restoration Light and Heavy Attacks to restore 1/2% of your missing Magicka with a cap of 100/200, rather than causing your Restoration fully charged Heavy Attacks to restore 15/30% more Magicka.

  • Heavy Armor
    • Revitalize: This passive now causes your fully-charged Heavy Attacks to restore up to 6/12% of their damage done as Magicka or Stamina, based on the weapon type used. This effect has a cap of 300/600 resource restore.

  • Werewolf
    • Pursuit: This passive now grants an additional 75/150 Stamina per Light Attack, rather than increasing your Heavy Attack restore

Champion Points
  • The Lover
    • Tenacity: This Champion Point passive now increases the Magicka and Stamina restore of your Light Attacks by up to 20%, rather than increasing the Magicka and Stamina Restore of your fully charged Heavy Attacks by up to 15%.
Edited by ZOS_GinaBruno on March 23, 2020 3:17PM
Gina Bruno
Senior Community Manager
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